Divorce can upend financial stability and the ability to pay for your needs. Child support and spousal support are intended to alleviate these concerns.

In Texas, spouses must meet certain thresholds to receive spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony. Let’s take a look at these factors below.

Eligibility

There are essentially four main ways a spouse can be eligible for an award of spousal maintenance in Texas.

  1. The spouse who is to pay this support was convicted or received deferred adjudication for a family violence crime against their spouse or their other spouse’s child within two years of the divorce filing or while the divorce was pending; or
  2. The marriage lasted at least 10 years and the spouse seeking maintenance does not have sufficient assets to pay for their reasonable needs. This spouse must also have a disability, does not have the earning power to pay for their minimum reasonable needs or be the primary caretaker of a child with a disability; or
  3. The spouses agree that maintenance may be paid for a certain period; or
  4. A spouse who is a sponsored immigrant could enforce the affidavit of support executed by their other spouse and request that the court order the immigrant spouse pay 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines until the immigrant spouse becomes an American citizen or earned 40 work history credits.

Earning ability

Courts consider factors such as each spouse’s financial resources after property division, their education and employment skills, the time needed to obtain training or education for earning a sufficient income and that training’s availability and reasonableness.  Other factors include the marriage’s length, spouse’s age and health and the spouses’ relationship.

Spouses seeking support need to show that they diligently searched for employment, training, and education.

Length

Support is required for five years if the paying spouse was convicted or received deferred adjudication for a family violence crime within the specified time.

If the marriage lasted from 20 to no more than 30 years, support may not last over 10 years. Spousal maintenance may not last over 10 years if the marriage lasted at least 30 years.

Courts may order support for as long as the spouse cannot earn enough income to pay their minimum reasonable needs because they have a disability or is a caretaker of a child with a disability.

Support may also end when either spouse dies, the recipient spouse remarries or if the recipient spouse cohabitates with a romantic partner.

Amount

There is no legal formula for the amount. Typically, support does not exceed over the lessor of $5,000 or 20 percent of the payer’s gross monthly income.

Legal representation can help assure that you obtain a fair and reasonable resolution in your divorce. An attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected.